I Need Advice on Owning a Vacation Condo Near Disney

Yensid67

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Hello Everyone,

I currently live in Pennsylvania and am considering buying a condo near Disney. I would use the condo for about 6 weeks in the summer and for a week over Christmas and Easter. Have any of you ever done this? I'm specifically looking for advice/insight regarding the following.

1. Is there anything special I would need to do to it if I'm not going to be in it for several months at a time? (It is in a gated community)

2. The HOAs include ground maintenance, water, sewer, and insurance. I'm assuming the only other things I will need to pay for are electric and cable/internet. Are there any other monthly costs I'm forgetting?

Thanks in advance for your time and help. Feel free to comment on any other aspect of doing this that I'm not thinking of.
 

NH-to-FL

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
I currently live in Pennsylvania and am considering buying a condo near Disney. I would use the condo for about 6 weeks in the summer and for a week over Christmas and Easter. Have any of you ever done this?
I am sure there are a few who have done this. About 8 years ago with my retirement on the horizon and the real estate market just coming out of its slump we bought a vacation home near Disney. For a few years we would visit 4-6 weeks a year. The rest of the time we rented it as a short term vacation home. We stopped renting when we became snowbirds and now live there about 5 months a year. We usually visit once during the summer to check on the place, though probably not this year.

2. The HOAs include ground maintenance, water, sewer, and insurance. I'm assuming the only other things I will need to pay for are electric and cable/internet. Are there any other monthly costs I'm forgetting?
An expense you didn't mention is property taxes, which should be disclosed on the real estate sites.

Depending on just how long your absences might be you might want to engage the services of a property manager or handyman to be your local eyes and ears in case something happens. Like a hurricane. Depending on the level of service there might be a retainer. We are blessed to have a wonderful full time neighbor who watches over a number of places in our neighborhood.

Electricity is certainly an expense, mostly for the A/C. How much depends on how big and how insulated your condo is. You will definitely want to keep the A/C going to keep the humidity down in the condo. Getting a WiFi thermostat makes it easy to manage the temperature setting when you aren't there.

Is there anything special I would need to do to it if I'm not going to be in it for several months at a time? (It is in a gated community)
Being in a gated community helps but I would still suggest a security system with a camera or two depending on the layout of the condo. You can now get systems that include water and temperature alarms. Water leaks are very nasty and the temperature alarm with quickly catch a busted A/C system. Cameras together with motion sensors will give you peace of mind and the ability to see what is going on if the alarms go off. We have two outdoor cameras, a doorbell camera and a camera on the door out to the lanai. We also have an indoor camera, which we turn off when we are there, in the main living area. I enjoy checking the cameras from time to time.

Where possible turn off the water supplies. Turn off the circuit breakers to as many things as you can. Especially the hot water heater. Decide what you want to do with the refrigerator. We keep ours running but fill up both the fridge and the freezer with bottles of water. Some will turn it off and prop open the doors. Also prop open doors to the various rooms and closets to allow the air to circulate.

Finally, be forewarned that having a place near Disney will be a big pull to visit more often. Remember you can get resident AP's with property ownership. We use utility bills as proof of ownership. We have our water bill in DW's name and the cable bill in my name for our AP's.

Wishing you success in your investigations.
 


  • _19disnA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2018
    Some locations do NOT permit short-term rentals to discourage it from becoming too much of a vacation destination and less of a place to live full-time. Be sure to look into what those restrictions might be at any place you consider buying. If you plan to rent out your home, you will probably need to configure it differently then if you own and simply leave it unoccupied when not around. I agree as others have mentioned, if it is going to be vacant for an extended period of time, you will need to get a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on things or hire some kind of maintenance company.

    Depending how many weeks you plan to live there and if you plan to rent, you might be better off just renting someplace for the times you will be in Florida. Others we know who rent their places don't really make any money by doing that, basically break even and the coordination of trying to manage maintenance/repairs from that far away can be a big challenge. As someone else mentioned, there is the added cost of a cleaning crew each time your renters vacate the property. You also need to work out an arrangement with someone who is local to be responsible for providing the keys to renters, so lots of others logistical issues to consider when you own vs. just renting someplace while on vacation.
     

    Yensid67

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2011
    Thank you all for the helpful advice. I'm not so sure we would want to do short term rentals, but I appreciate the information should we change our minds. I'm in the same situation NH-to-Fl was. I'm 5 years from retiring and will move their permanently at that point. I think my biggest concern was how to keep an eye on it when we're not there and you've all given great advice as to how to handle it. Thanks again.
     

    ExtraMagic

    Happy Disney Mom!
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2019
    Thank you all for the helpful advice. I'm not so sure we would want to do short term rentals, but I appreciate the information should we change our minds. I'm in the same situation NH-to-Fl was. I'm 5 years from retiring and will move their permanently at that point. I think my biggest concern was how to keep an eye on it when we're not there and you've all given great advice as to how to handle it. Thanks again.
    What a dream!! Love the idea of owning a condo near Disney!

    You might also join the “Moving to Orlando” Facebook group that Pete is running! It sounds like there is a lot of experience in the group and they may have learned first hand something that could help you plan!
     

    _19disnA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2018
    Lots of older thread discuss owning/living near Disney. Someplace you enjoy for a few weeks on vacation may not necessarily be the same place you want to live year-round.
     
  • Yensid67

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2011
    What a dream!! Love the idea of owning a condo near Disney!

    You might also join the “Moving to Orlando” Facebook group that Pete is running! It sounds like there is a lot of experience in the group and they may have learned first hand something that could help you plan!
    Thanks so much for the great advice. I really appreciate it!
     

    APiratesLifeForMe2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2013
    Just a heads up the insurance from the HOA may not cover everything. I’m not as familiar with FL if their HOA’s are different, but where I live, HOA’s only cover the exterior of the building and common areas. Unit owners insure the interior of the unit, including personal property.
     





    Connect

    Disney News and Updates





    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    Top